New bookstore, Breck Books, opens in Breckenridge
December 11, 2018
A semi-retired couple is trying to make it in Breckenridge with a new bookstore, Breck Books, tucked into the Towne Square Mall shopping center at 100 N. Main St., above the Godspeed Tattoo parlor.
The owners, Richard and Kim Sims, don't plan on getting rich with their latest endeavor; that's not really the point. Rather, they describe their decision to open a small, independent bookstore in Summit County as a "lifestyle" in which they hope to enjoy their time together while running a business.
"We wouldn't pick the book business if (making money) is what we were trying to do," Richard said with a laugh. "The point is, we were spending all of our time together in retirement — we like spending time together — and so if we can make this stay afloat, that's the goal."
With 20 years of experience with bookstores in New Mexico, Georgia and Texas, Richard knows full well the pressure online retailers like Amazon and big-box stores like Barns & Noble are putting on mom-and-pop establishments.
Based on the research they've done, though, Richard and Kim still believe that Breckenridge can support a bookstore that has a robust children's section and carries new releases, time-honored classics, hiking and snow-trekking guides and high-altitude cookbooks.
"The people that come have some money to travel with, they're only here for four or five days, and they're not going to order from Amazon," Richard said of Breckenridge's resort market. "They see something, they buy it; that was the picture we got."
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Beyond the hardcovers and paperbacks, the new bookstore also offers various gift items, like literacy-themed baby and children's clothes, note and gift cards, wooden puzzles, coffee mugs and Colorado merchandise.
"My big find for the year, I think — it's already quite popular — is 'Cards Against Muggles,'" Kim Sims said. "It's all Harry Potter and just as racey as 'Cards Against Humanity,' so it's not recommended for the 10-year-olds, but it's a fun game."
On the store's website, BreckBooks.com, people can see what's in stock and what's soon to be released. Requests for special orders are welcome, and the Sims said they can usually fill an order in about a day or two.
Before coming to Summit County, Richard, who's originally from Texas, was living in North Carolina and Kim in California. After deciding they want to be with each other and would like to run a bookstore together, they toured a number of resort communities where they thought they might like to open — places like Park City, Steamboat Springs, Telluride — before landing on Breckenridge.
"We got real lucky," said Kim, explaining that after deciding where they wanted to be, they had to find retail space and they needed to find it fast. "We knew if we didn't open by November, we weren't going to be opening this year."
The Sims wanted to be on Main Street, and they figured they'd need about 1,000 square feet for their store to open. In October, a fast-acting real estate agent helped make their wishes all come together.
"Our window was very narrow, and we opened the window," Richard said, explaining that they moved on the open retail space as soon as their agent made them aware of it. "We were working on it, but at the same time, we were at the right place at the right time and we knew enough to move quickly."
So far, the store's best showing was the day before Thanksgiving. Snowstorms all but wiped out the after-Thanksgiving rush. However, with a month in business, the Sims are seeing signs that they found the ideal place.
"We have a lot to learn," Richard said. "But we have begun to see it in the last few days, and it makes us feel confident that — I don't want to say we know what we're doing — but it's falling into place a little bit and keeping us optimistic."
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